Nominate a Scientist Who Has Recently Made a Seminal Toxicological Contribution for the 2021 SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award

By Brian Cummings posted 08-20-2020 13:16


Leading Edge in Basic Science Award

Since 2009, the SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award has recognized a scientist—an SOT member or a nonmember—who within the last five years has made a seminal scientific contribution/advance to understanding fundamental mechanisms of toxicity. The recipient should be a respected basic scientist whose research findings are likely to have a pervasive impact on the field of toxicology. The nomination period is now open for this award; you are encouraged to nominate your deserving colleagues for this prestigious accolade. 

The recipient will present the 2021 SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award Lecture during the 2021 SOT Annual Meeting and ToxExpo and will be recognized during the 2021 SOT Awards Ceremony.

Making a Nomination

The deadline to submit a nomination is October 9, 2020. Nominations should include both a primary and a secondary letter of nomination from Full members of the Society that provide in layman’s terms an analysis of the nominee’s significant contributions to toxicology and how they apply to the award criteria. The strongest nomination packages include two letters that are distinct from one another to offer more detailed support of the candidate’s qualifications. Nomination packages that include very similar letters of nomination offer less information than those that include recommendations that are varied in content. Letters of nomination should be specific and descriptive while also maintaining a level of concision. The Awards Committee will review only the two letters required to complete the nomination; no additional letters will be considered.

Nominations also should include the nominee’s up-to-date CV. For national SOT Awards, such as the Leading Edge in Basic Science Award, the Awards Committee requires a standardized length for CVs included in nomination packages. CVs must be a maximum of 10 pages in length and should highlight the candidate’s most significant professional accomplishments as they relate to the criteria for the award. Awards Committee members are required to review only 10 pages of each CV; therefore, submitting a longer CV does not strengthen an award nomination.

For more information on making a nomination, please review the “Awards Review Process and FAQs” web page of the SOT website. Please direct any inquiries to SOT Headquarters

This is an opportunity to honor your colleagues for their outstanding accomplishments; you are encouraged to submit your nominations by October 9.

Spotlight on the 2020 SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award Recipient Wen-Xing Ding, PhD

Leading-Edge-Basic-Science-Ding-WX.pngDr. Ding received the 2020 SOT Leading Edge in Basic Science Award for his recent contributions to advancing the fundamental understanding of liver toxicology and his breakthrough research on autophagy and mitophagy.

Dr. Ding received his PhD from the National University of Singapore in 2002. He then conducted his postdoctoral fellowship within the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he quickly became a Research Associate and Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Ding joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2009 as an Assistant Professor, rapidly achieving the rank of Professor in 2016. He currently serves as a tenured Professor in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutics.

Dr. Ding’s research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since his first year as faculty; he has received 17 grants throughout his career. His work has demonstrated that autophagy, and particularly mitophagy, is an endogenous protective mechanism against alcohol- and drug-induced liver injury. His research has evinced that autophagy is induced in many cases of hepatotoxicity and other forms of liver injury and that inhibition of autophagy is detrimental in those diseases. This research enforces the idea that enhancing autophagy may be a promising approach to treating acute liver injury and chronic liver and pancreatic disease. Lysosome, an important organelle, sits at the end step for autophagy, which is often impaired in drug-induced liver injury and chronic liver disease. More recent work from Ding’s team uncovered a critical role of TFEB, a master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis, in drug- and alcohol-induced liver injury. Dr. Ding’s work highlights the potential promise to target TFEB for treating drug-induced liver injury and alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. Dr. Ding’s research also involves the basic mechanisms of cell death in liver injury caused by drugs and other xenobiotics, and he has recently begun to engage with the understudied problem of alcohol-induced pancreatitis.

Extending his expertise to the next generation of scientists, Dr. Ding has mentored seven graduate students and four postdoctoral fellows, as well as seven undergraduate summer students, two high school summer students, one medical student, and five visiting scholars from outside the United States.

Dr. Ding’s publication record encompasses over 150 highly cited peer-reviewed papers, including on fundamental studies on the basic mechanisms of autophagy. Seventy-nine of these pieces have been published in the past five years. Throughout his career, he has served as a member of 15 different Editorial Boards and currently serves as an Associate Editor for Drug Metabolism and Toxicology and Autophagy. He also was the co-editor of the 2017 book Cell Death in Liver Disease. A member of six scientific societies, including SOT, Dr. Ding frequently chairs sessions at scientific meetings and has served as an invited speaker more than 100 times. He has been a member of SOT since 2015.